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Walleye In The Net
Wanted Lake Erie Walleye

Making Walleye Lures

I’m going to fish more in 2008. That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. But until the weather warms up to a sultry 60 degrees or so I’ll be content to prepare for spring’s arrival.

It may appear that I am rushing the upcoming fishing season a little but not really. You see, I like to make a lot of my own gear and I’m sure some of you do too. That takes time and effort. And every year that goes by I still have time but the effort seems to become a little harder to sum up.

So, it’s at this time of year that I start tying the hundreds of casting harnesses and snelled hooks I will need over the course of 6-7 months of walleye, smallie and perch fishing. I’ve started by placing my orders for hooks, line, beads, blades and jig heads. I’ll receive those supplies in about 7-10 days. In the meantime, I’m using up what’s left of my ‘07 supplies.

Making your own worm harnesses and jigs will save you lots of money. Besides, it’s fun and helps to relax this anxious angler.

Starting with this edition of Lake Erie News Reel, I’m going to offer some of my tips and know-how when it comes to Lake Erie fishing. I’d like to invite readers to share some of their ideas, too. Together, we just might succeed in catching more fish.
If you have a favorite worm harness design/color, write back and let me know so I can share it with readers. Right now, News Reel goes out to around 1,000 people twice a month. There’s a lot of knowledge out there just waiting to be discovered.
I think pretty much, most fishermen know what a worm harness is. They can be cast, trolled or used in combination with a bottom bouncer. At right is an example.

This one is around 24 inches in length (I make them about 30 inches long for use with a bottom bouncer. It has one #4 baitholder hook and a #4 salmon hook as a stinger. The stinger works great when the walleye are biting short. At the other end is a two-inch loop with a clear glass bead. All this on 14-lb test clear line. And did I mention that a nightcrawler (I also use artificial worms sometimes) is required on the hooks?

The loop is threaded through a barrel sinker and then attached to a swivel on the end of your fishing line. The glass bead keeps the sinker from sliding down onto the beads and blade. It’s amazing that something so simple and so inexpensive to make can be so deadly on walleyes. Economy is always welcome.

Of course, there are many variables to this rig. I always keep 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and 1 oz. weights on hand to meet most situations. Basically, the deeper the fish, the heavier the weight. I use this formula: up to 15-feet of depth use 3/8’s; 15-25 feet use 1/2; 25-35 use 5/8, deeper use 3/4 or heavier. Keep in mind that wind velocity and waves will come into play. On windy days go one step heavier.

Color is often important on Lake Erie. I don’t like colors not found in the lake naturally. I rarely use light blue or light green. I favor orange and red beads (fish egg and crayfish colors); silver and gold beads because they resemble minnow coloration. As for blades, nothing beats hammered gold. Silver, orange, copper, and chartreuse are more top choices. I stay away from fancy. Walleyes probably do too.

It takes a while but anglers will soon find out what works for them. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I often tie harnesses as customers are fishing, especially when I see a successful trend in color. It usually results in more fish in the cooler at the end of the day. If you are unsure how to tie the traditional knots used in making harnesses and snells, I suggest this website: Review the “snell” knot. I use two versions of this knot in my rigs. Now go experiment and learn how to make your own walleye weapons.